"BRISBANE – Out of ‘Moreton Bay’" Brisbane by tiabunna

Brisbane Travel Guide: 1,659 reviews and 3,738 photos

“….But of all places of condemnation
and penal stations of New South Wales,
To Moreton Bay I have found no equal;
excessive tyranny each day prevails….”


Those words from an anonymous old Australian folk-song written by a convict lamenting the tough conditions at Moreton Bay (the name of the original convict settlement), take us back to Brisbane’s less than auspicious beginnings. With a combination of rapid development, busy modern lifestyles and a tendency to ignore history, Brisbane’s early days are often forgotten. The initial convict settlement was set up at Redcliffe in 1824, but soon was moved to the current site of Brisbane. At the time there even was a proposal to call the new settlement ’Edenglassie’, perish the thought!

Until February 1842 free settlers were prohibited from approaching within 50 miles of the penal station. Finally, later that year, it was declared a free settlement with the name Brisbane Town – and development based on agriculture and pastoralism commenced. But it remained part of New South Wales. Not until 1859 was Queensland proclaimed as a separate colony, with Brisbane as the capital. In 1860, Brisbane still had just six thousand residents!

Brisbane now is Australia’s third largest city, with a population of about 2 million and maybe 2.5 million in the wider metropolitan area. It is growing rapidly and (in my opinion) is changing more and faster than any other Australian city. Locals often call it “Brissie”, but lately you’ll sometimes see it called ’Brisvegas’, presumably because it now hosts a casino: I rather feel that if a parallel to an American city must be made (God knows why!), ’Brisangeles’ would be more appropriate, given the way it now sprawls out (the wider Brisbane area is over 4500 sq km).

I should find it easy to do a Brisbane page: I grew up there after all. But that was many years ago when suburban trains were pulled by steam engines; an extensive tram network provided most public transport; the City Hall tower was the highest building; and it was essentially a big country town. All of which not only categorises me as positively prehistoric, but also suggests you might care to visit a VT page from a current “Brissie” local.

If you are proposing to visit Australia and wish to do something other than the usual “Sydney/Ayers Rock/Barrier Reef” package trip, Brisbane would make a great starting point. Quite apart from the city itself, the surrounding area has some great attractions. A final point for overseas visitors. The name is pronounced Bris/b'n, not Bris-bANE: nothing sets the locals' teeth on edge faster than the latter!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A lovely setting on the river, between Moreton Bay and the ranges.
  • Cons:Summers can test your tolerance of heat and humidity
  • In a nutshell:Arguably a great alternative starting point for an Australian visit.
  • Last visit to Brisbane: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 22, 2007
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Reviews (26)

Comments (24)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Hi George, I enjoyed re-reading your fine tips on your former hometown, plus all the updates that you have added in the past several years. Those “Citycat” boats look like a great way to see the city. I hadn’t realized that the Southern Cross flight was in 1928, only one year after Lindbergh’s first transatlantic flight.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    We have heard news of much rain there. I hope it "weathers" through it okay. Your tips and pictures are great

  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2009 at 2:56 AM

    South African pals of ours have just moved to Brisbane.. we are planning on visiting them next year, thanks for the lovely tips :)

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Hi George! We visited Brisbane years ago and I see I missed a lot of places! We have to return --- nice tips, Norman :)

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2008 at 5:53 AM

    Interesting and informative page on Bris/b'n George. Hans and I are planning to come to your neck of the woods next year for the Whitsundays VT meet.

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2008 at 3:20 PM

    Hi George, The museum , parks rides on rivercats it all sounds wonderful. I hope to visait this beautiful city soon, maybe before or after the next OZ VT Meet.Gr8 page!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2008 at 10:30 PM

    A fascinating page and a puzzling city that I prefer to visit vitually: heat is OK for me but humidity is not my cup of tea! I am desert oriented!

  • chrissy_11's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    Good stuff, George! I've stayed here a few times before this move and I'm glad we're heading into winter. I'll have to get myself organised before the heat and humidity start.

  • Feb 27, 2008 at 8:22 AM

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful tips! It has been 12 years since my last visit and I am looking forward to visiting again very soon, with two children in tow this time!

  • Jan 21, 2008 at 5:33 PM

    The Southbank beach seems like a great idea!!!!!

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